SEO Strategy for GeoLocation and Multi-Regional Landing Pages Using rel-alternate-hreflang Annotation
Traffic IP Redirect and SEO when working with multi-regional & multilingual websites…
Did you ever wonder what could happen on the SERPs when you have to serve a page to traffic coming from a specific location based on their IP using an IP detection and Redirection like a GeoIP level redirect?
I experienced this challenge first hand on a project and thus the Meta data in SERPs was kind of messy for few days until I finally implemented the appropriate fix. If you are unfamiliar with this, IP detection and redirection involves determining the IP address of a user coming to your site, then redirecting them to a new page (URL) based on their location.
You have to understand that website SEO require from you a good technical understanding of search engines, servers, scripts, and more. Not having some basic technical knowledge can hurt you website SEO.
So let’s go back to our challenge and the fixes:
We want to make sure that the Search Engines are displaying the correct Title Tag and Descriptions Tag on the SERPs to the correct user based on his country.
Since Google has about 65% of the searches, we will focus on it in this article.
We have to remember that Googlebot (Google spider) has a U.S IP. So when redirecting traffic based on their U.S IP to a page that has content related to U.S user…well, Googlebot could display the Meta data of the U.S page to all users from all countries.
Solutions to avoid messing up your Meta Data on SERPs:
You can markup a Multilanguage or localized page by using a rel-alternate-hreflang annotation using HTML link tags or Sitemaps.
HTML link element in header:
It’s a good idea to provide a generic page URL for geographically unspecified users if you have several alternate URLs targeted at users with the same language, but in different locales. This generic page could for example be your home page.
Imagine you want to show on the SERPs the Meta Data related to the Home Page for all unspecified users BUT you want U.S users to see Meta Data on SERPs related to the U.S page.
You can indicate to Google that the Home page is the generic/default page by adding the following HTML link element inside the <head> section of the Home page:
<link rel="alternate" href="[block]0[/block]" hreflang="x-default" />
Then you can add underneath the default HTML link element, an additional markup that tells Google that traffic coming from the U.S should see on SERPs the Meta data of the US page:
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-us" href="http://en-us.example.
You do that for all pages that target specific locations. So your Home Page HTML <head> section should have this markup:
<link rel="alternate" hreflang="x-default" href="http://www.example.com/" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-gb" href="http://en-gb.example.com/page.html" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en-us" href="http://en-us.example.com/page.html" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="en" href="http://en.example.com/page.html" /> <link rel="alternate" hreflang="de" href="http://de.example.com/seite.html" />
Next Step: after adding the generic and location targeting markup on the Home Page, the next thing you have to do is to place location targeting markup on the alternate page.
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang="a-different-language
Some examples: http://example.com/en-gb: For English-speaking users in the UK http://example.com/en-us: For English-speaking users in the USA http://example.com/en-au: For English-speaking users in Australia
Expanding your site to more languages by Google Webmaster Team:
When updating your sitemap be sure to specify the xhtml namespace as follows:
You must then create a separate url element for each URL. Each url element must include a loc tag indicating the page URLs, and an xhtml:link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”XX” subelement for every alternate #version of the page, including itself.
Here is a detailed support article about Geo-Targeting by Google Webmasters Tools support team.
Technical SEO Jargon:
What is GeoIP Level Redirect?
“A GeoIP is a service that converts IP addresses to their respective location on the earth. This is done by looking up the IP address in a database maintained by various Internet Service providers.”
SERPs: Search Engines Results Pages.